Sunday, May 02, 2010

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Smith v. Goord, (2d Cir., April 27, 2010), the 2nd Circuit remanded with instructions that plaintiff should be granted leave to amend his complaint that prison staff members violated his free exercise rights when they failed to provide him with an alternative method of tuberculosis testing consistent with his religious beliefs instead of placing him in confinement.

In United States v. Lafley, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41445 (D MT, April 28, 2010), a Montana federal district court refused to modify defendant's conditions of supervised release to permit him to possess marijuana for religious or medical purposes.

In Hartmann v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41522 (ED CA, April 27, 2010), Wiccan prisoners challenged a California regulations that provided full time prison chaplains for five specified faiths, but only part-time or volunteer chaplains for others. A California federal magistrate judge

In Jotunbane v. Sedillo, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41360 (D NM, April 20, 2010), a New Mexico federal district court held that RLUIPA does not authorize prisoner claims of any sort against state officials in their personal capacities nor does it authorize claims for monetary damages (as opposed to other kinds of relief) against individuals in their official capacities.

In Robinson v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42154 (ED NY, March 24, 2010), a New York federal magistrate judge recommended that a Jewish prisoner be permitted to proceed with his claim that his free exercise rights were infringed when a corrections officer burst into prison Jewish High Holy Day services, told participants they were over, had members of the congregation handcuffed, and took plaintiff who was leading the services into the elevator and physically assaulted him. An excessive force claim was dismissed because of improper defendants being named.

In Flett v. Vail, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40725 (ED WA, April 26, 2010), a Washington federal court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40749, Feb. 24, 2010) allowing a Native American inmate to move ahead with his RLUIPA complaint challenging a regulation that denied him access to an eagle bone whistle used in certain religious ceremonies.

In Gjevukaj v. Lowe, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40781 (MD PA, April 26, 2010), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed plaintiff's claim that he was denied Halal-compliant meals. It upheld the policy of removing inmates from the Common Fare diet when they consumed commissary items that did not comply with their religious requirements.

In Lagervall v. Garringer, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40730 (ED WA, April 26, 2010), a federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40733, April 9, 2010) and dismissed a Muslim inmate's RLUIPA claim that his rights were infringed when a kufi mailed to him from a supplier was rejected because he had not paid for it from his personal funds.

In Hoeft v. Allen, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40054 (WD WI, April 23, 2010), a Wisconsin federal district court rejected free exercise and RLUIPA claims by a former inmate whose drawing of a swastika was confiscated from his cell.